Wednesday, 29 August 2012
Leaders teach basic economics

Thirty years ago my mentor and boss, Tom Hennesy, spent time with me reviewing the economics of our business.  He made sure that his eventual successor had a full understanding of the various financial measures of the business.  He had me study the profit or loss statements of every operating unit.

I studied the thousands of components of the revenue line in immense detail – category by category – and often item by item.  I learned about the relationship of pricing and volume to gross margin. We constantly reviewed every expense line on the financial statements. He taught me more than I ever wanted to know about balance sheets.

I was fortunate to receive such great coaching.  If you need similar coaching ask the right person and you will probably be surprised at the willingness of that person to help you learn.

Our role as leaders is to develop our people in all their skills including a clear understanding of the financial components of our business unit.  The more our team grasps about the economics of the business the better the decisions they can make.

Leaders: How are you doing coaching your key people on the economics of your business?

Posted on 08/29/2012 10:44 AM by Joe Scarlett
Tuesday, 21 August 2012
No one loves a micro-manager

The leaders who earn the most respect and typically achieve the best results are the ones who select good teams, set clear direction, delegate, empower, trust and then celebrate the successes. At our leadership institute we regularly talk about “pushing decision making to the lowest possible level.”  In other words, if some below you on the totem pole can make the decision then empower them to do it.  Empowering others builds confidence and produces results.  Additionally when you push responsibility down the ladder you then have the time and clarity of vision to “see over the hill and around the corner.” 

The other side of this coin is the boss who is constantly checking on what you are doing and often telling you what to do and even how to do it.  It is clear that this boss does not trust you.  This person is commonly known as a micro-manager. The results of micro-managing are low morale, poor results, and high personnel turnover. In addition micro-managers seldom get promoted and often get fired.

You don’t like being micro-managed and your people don’t like it either. Micro-managing is like a disease.

 Leaders:  Stamp out micro-managing!
Posted on 08/21/2012 1:01 PM by Joe Scarlett
Monday, 13 August 2012
Leaders are Teachers

I recently spent an hour with fifty young ambitious leaders. What a thrill. I led off with my standard talk about Tractor Supply Company and the basic principles of leadership.  You could tell that this was an engaged group by the expressions on their faces and that they laughed at my occasional jokes.

After about twenty minutes we opened it up for a Q&A session and spent the remainder of the hour in spirited discussion about Tractor Supply and leadership. They asked tough questions about the selection of people, delegation, motivation, communications, integrity on and off the job, and a whole lot more. By the time the hour was up I was emotionally exhausted and ecstatic at all we had covered.  

Leaders:  This is our most important job – teaching others how to be good leaders. You don’t have opportunities to teach?  Make the opportunities.  Volunteer to teach.  Nothing is more important than teaching others. If you are reading this you are in a leadership role and you can be an inspiration and a role model for others. 

When you are old and gray, your most important memories will be of those you helped to achieve success.

Posted on 08/13/2012 11:38 AM by Joe Scarlett
Tuesday, 7 August 2012
Take Pride in Yourself

Start each day with a good look in the mirror and ask yourself “Do I look like someone I would be happy to work for or with?” Your personal appearance telegraphs an awful lot about you in so many ways. If you look professional others think of you as professional.  If you look unprofessional others will likely discount much of what you say.

Guys – shave every day.  The fact that George Clooney only shaves every third or fourth day is no justification for you to look like a slob.  Ladies – you all know what a professional looks like in your business so at very least just follow the crowd.  My advice is to dress to win and that means never being at the bottom of the appearance ladder.  My additional advice is to dress for the position you seek not the one you have today.  If you dress one step up the ladder you will begin to think and act like you are one step up the ladder and then all of a sudden you might just get there.

One more thing – SMILE! It is contagious.  People want to associate with others who smile so as you leave for work every day put your smile on before you walk out the door.

Posted on 08/07/2012 1:54 PM by Joe Scarlett
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